JUNE 11, 2004

Prisoner of Ignorance
Letter to Brother Bill
School Board Meeting
Clay Future Mapped Out

Come the fall general election, many people find voting much easier. Many just mark the top for a straight ticket vote….one person for each office from each party. Voting may not be so easy this time around. James Paxton, a registered Democrat, filed to be a write in candidate in the Sheriff’ race before noon Wednesday, June 9th. Paxton finished the May 2004 Primary in fourth place with 254 votes behind Randy Holcomb (551); Donny Triplett (326) and Matthew Bragg (288). With certificate of filing in hand, Paxton may have his work cut out for him.
        November’ ballot will have Republican Dave Mullins and Democrat Randy Holcomb. Outside each polling place will be a certificate reading that Paxton is an official write in candidate for the office of Sheriff. Long time Democratic voters often go directly to the top of their secret ballot and check mark the rooster for a straight ticket vote. To cast your vote for Paxton, voters would have to change their ways, get away from the quick, straight ticket method of scratching the rooster, and instead go through the entire form marking one for each spot for each race.
        We spoke with candidate Paxton Thursday, June 10th and the following are excerpts from that off-the-cuff question and response session.
        So … why did you file as a write in for Sheriff? Paxton: “A lot of people that I respect have asked me to consider being a write in candidate. I have thought about that… have prayed about that… and I feel that’ the route I should go.”
        You’e a Democrat. How are you different from your fellow Democrat, Randy Holcomb? Paxton: “ really can’ say what my fellow Democrat does or does not offer. I’ sure there are a lot of parallels and there are some difference in strategies and ways to go about things. That’ not a negative reflection on anybody else…. I am not running to run against any other. I am just very concerned about my county. If I just sit back and do nothing, I feel like I am not living up to what my responsibilities should be.”
        If you have to name your one chief concern with law enforcement and Clay County, what would it be? Paxton, “ believe to restore the public’ confidence in law enforcement in Clay County. That of course has to touch every area.. whether its response to domestic violence… or the rampant drug problem or a drunk driver on the road. … You can’ always respond in the time frame that everyone wants. But, at least they’l know there is going to be an effort. …. I hate to say this, it sounds like I’ being negative, and I don’ mean to be that…. Probably the most frequent comment , unsolicited, they feel like we don’ have any law enforcement in Clay County. I’e heard it from Nebo, to Bentree to Dille to Queen Shoals. That’ not a Republican or Democratic thing , people say, ‘I called and they don’ come.’ I’ not casting stones as to who, they didn’ say which agency, they just say , we don’ get any results. I am concerned about that.”
Of course, many consider a write in candidate a spoiler. We asked candidate Paxton that very question. His response, “ have never been in politics. I have never been a politician as far as the nature of that…. I’ just asking people to vote their conscience. I said in the beginning, was to give people a choice…. I didn’ reenter the race to run against an opponent. I just… a lot of people have asked me to consider what I’ doing and weighing that and out of respect for them, I feel it’ just a step I need to take….It’ not very well spoken. It’ right off the cuff.”
        Sometime after the initial interview, Paxton asked to add a little more. In brief: law enforcement can’ do the job alone; it takes mutual confidence and concerns; both on the national and local levels, there is a lack of involvement and concern; we’e heading in the wrong direction because of the apathy; and too many people say they can’ make a difference. And finally, from Paxton, “Young and old need to live in safety.. I just want what’ best for them…”
        Others have run as write in candidates in the county. After loosing in a May election, Randy Holcomb once netted over 500 votes in his write in attempt. Magistrate Betty Taylor also ran and lost as a write in candidate. Very few outside candidates have won in the last half of the 20th Century. One exception was Norman Wilson who successfully won the Town of Clay’ Mayor spot and Garrett Samples, Jr. who won on a write in ticket for Roane County Board of Education 4 years ago.
        With Paxton in the thick of things with Holcomb and Mullins, the fall race may become very competitive. There are rumors that others may file for office using the write in method. Just threw that in there, readers, to keep you wondering!                                                                                AW

        In last edition word came of Chris Pritt, David Stone and Jason Triplett getting hauled off to jail after law enforcement nabbed them breaking in and stealing items from the Dundon ball field May 25th. In the way of an update, we have two. Here’ the first.
        Of the three, Chris Pritt pleaded guilty to one felony charge and three misdemeanors. On the destruction of property and fleeing charges, Pritt was fined $50 and $120 court costs times 2. He received a 30 day suspended jail sentence plus fine and court costs and probation on the petit larceny charges. The breaking the entering was dropped, dismissed, in a plea agreement. Pritt has already paid restitution of $200.00 for the damages.
        Jason Triplett and David Stone pleaded not guilty to felony breaking and entering, and misdemeanors, destruction of property, petit larceny, and obstructing an officer. With probable cause found, Triplett awaits Grand Jury indictment later this summer. David Stone was to have his day in court, June 4th. Didn’ happen. With everything set for a hearing Stone’ attorney Wayne King was a no show. No hearing has been set for Mr. Stone.
        And follow up #2…
        After looking the badges in the eye, our guesstimate is, Pritt provided information on those involved in an earlier May 20th break in at the Dundon Little League concession stand. That’ the incident were little was taken but the vandals squirted catsup and like all over the place and left freezer doors open spoiling all the food stuff on hand.
         One day after Stone, Triplett, and Pritt were arrested and sent to Central Regional Jail, law enforcement picked up Calvin Cottrell and Jason Boggs. Both were arrested on felony breaking and entering and misdemeanor, destruction of property, and petit larceny charges. Both were jailed on May 28th. Cottrell got out of the slammer June 4th and Boggs made it out June 3rd. Great way to spend Memorial Day weekend!
                 Boggs has yet to have his preliminary hearing on the charges with the matter continued twice already and now set for June 30, 2004.
                 Here’ an interesting part, Mr. Cottrell came to Magistrate Jeff Boggs’ office June 10th with attorney Barbara Schamberger in tow ready to make his plea. Everybody was there except arresting officer, green shirt, TFC M.L. Bailey. Charges against Cottrell were dismissed with prejudice. So why no Bailey? We asked that question to Trooper Stephenson who was present Thursday. He responded, “Bailey] was not subpoenaed. Ask the Prosecutor!” It appears that Prosecutor Daniel Grindo may have slipped up in his preparation for the court appearance. Dismissed with prejudice means the Prosecutor, if he’ so inclined, can have the charges reinstated at a later time.                                                                        AW
         ??? DID YOU KNOW ???
    1.        The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.
2.        The average college student leaves college owing $19,400 in student loans and $2,748 in credit card debt according to the general accounting office.
3.        “acob”was the most popular boy baby name in 2003, Emily, Emma and Madison for girls.
4.        For fiscal 2003, Toyota sales in North America reached 2.1 million vehicles, an increase of 121,000 over the previous year.
5.        More than 230,000 American men are diagnosed with prostate cancer annually, according to the national Prostate Cancer Coalition.
6.        5.3 percent of children took some type of behavioral medicine in 2003 including 3.4 percent on attention deficit medicines and 2.3 percent on anti-depressants.
7.        The average person spends about one hour and 15 minutes in a vehicle each day and 4.6 percent of that time is used to eat or drink according to a study done by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
8.        According to the National Association of College Stores, textbook sales reach $8 billion a year, 1.6 billion of which are sales of used books.
9.        There are an estimated 330,000-registered Republican voters in West Virginia. In most elections about 150,000 could be expected to vote.
10.         According to the Center for Disease Control, dogs bite more than 4.7 million people a year.
11.         A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics finds that very young children who watch television face an increased risk of attention deficit problems by school age.
12.         It’ ok to make castles in the air, as long as you don’ try stepping outside.
13.         Not even Harry Potter could prevent a big drop in book sales in 2003; 23 million fewer books were sold last year than in 2002.
14.         The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recognize “ogging”as one of the nations most dangerous jobs, killing 100 people in 2002.
15.         West Virginia remains in last place for the percent of the state population with a college diploma.
16.         Nearly one-third of West Virginia’ 118 million residents are “aby boomers”
17.         Mel Gibson’ “The Passion of the Christ”will be released on DVD on August 31, 2004.
18.         A pint of “en & Jerry’”ice cream is going up 8 percent.
19.         A five-year Federal Trade Commission survey found that personal information such as Social Security numbers of 27.3 million U.S. consumers were used to commit fraud at a cost of some $5 billion.
20.         The average person eats 26 servings of ice cream a year.

Prisoner of Ignorance By Jim Chafin
Someone once said that the antonym of liberal education is the prison of ignorance, implying it seems to me that under the banner of liberal arts things cannot help but get better for everyone. And, yes, in our social system education as we know it does seem to provide a leg up when it comes to economics. Education, when applied liberally to large numbers of people has drastically changed man’ environment, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Better because man has been able to tailor his existence and his needs in a manner more amenable to his wants, and at his own speed. Worse, perhaps, because in his headlong leap to overcome Mother Nature he has been able to feather his own nest while fouling the habitat of others. Actually, education, as a scheme of man, has been the tool by which unjust people have been able to subdue the earth and order its resources according to the desires of a tiny minority of earth’ inhabitants. While on the one hand purporting to design a system in the best interests of everyone, the Rx is skewed to favor those of the “n”crowd, the insiders who are privy to information and alliances not available to the rest of us. The poor, disabled, politically weak, those at the bottom of the rung of the economic ladder, all fall short of equality as envisioned by the framers of our Constitution. Education, from its very beginnings, has been the darling of the rich and famous. It seems that education began about 500 years BC as a movement to entertain those who had little to do and a lot of money at their disposal. A fellow named Plato founded a center of learning and became quite famous for his utterance of philosophy and he confounded the world with his strange new theories in mathematics. Ever since, education as an economic activity has grown to encompass just about everyone, especially in western societies.
But education, as opposed to scriptural knowledge, keeps a changin’ We are told that technology doubles every five years. A person who was considered to be literate in, shall we say electronics, in 1990 would be considered functionally illiterate in 2004 unless he/she had kept up with the educational advances in their sphere of activity. Unlike scriptural knowledge which was given based upon what God wanted His creation to be, man’ education has no boundaries and no moral standards upon which to rest. Even when laudable activities such as charity works are undertaken, little moral force is involved in the inner-workings of those who operate such activities. When God is kicked out of the classroom, and His very name is impugned at our public activities, then His standards of morality are forgotten by the people. How long then does it take before immorality rushes in to fill the void left by an absence of God’ character as expressed in the moral law of scripture? It happens in the highest echelons of government and commerce.
Here in America, this nation is shackled by a ruling class that has its roots in the most prestigious colleges and universities this country has to offer. The resident of our Oval Office in Washington is a graduate of Yale, as was his father and grandfather. The staff of this administration all have been the benefactors of educational facilities – the best that money can buy. But does this country benefit from all that prestigious education so lavishly bestowed upon this conglomerate of arrogance personified? What does this current political climate in America speak to those who have looked to the United States for both right and might? If education has been touted as our savior – and it has – then what do we say to those who have so blatantly used the power of their position to deceive, not only the American people, but the whole world? And now that the big lie is out in the open, what do we the people do about so great a fraud that has been perpetrated against us and our founding documents? How many more of this nation’ young citizens must we see brought home in flag draped coffins before we muster up the strength to say, “way with you and all who by their actions show distain for our constitutional process and the sacredness of life itself…”
Who among us could possibly believe that Moslems in general, and Iraqis in particular, would bow down and kiss our feet as “iberators”except those highly educated members of the Skull and Bones fraternity at Yale? Yet, here we are in a hornet’ nest that keeps getting larger as time goes on. With KIA’ nearing 700 and wounded surpassing 3,000, as of this writing, how much more war does George W. Bush want? Outwardly he keeps the war chant at fever pitch. However, I, for one, do not believe for one moment that he is as sure of himself as his public statements would indicate. His ability to control the thoughts and actions of those who are doing the fighting and dying in that sand hole will falter, along with those on the home front who have given of their sons and daughters.
History is pockmarked with blood-soaked sagas of intense conflict between eastern and western civilizations. And our presence in Iraq is just one more event in a long series of conflagrations pitting France, Germany, England, Spain, and the United States against Islam. Yes, this has become a religious conflict wherein Moslem extremists see us as infidels and the great Satan. Unless America forgoes its image of the most heavily armed nation in history and its propensity to think in terms of military conflict as the means to correct every world imbalance, we are doomed to repeat past follies in coming years.
Sadly, our concept of right and wrong has not improved with our growing exposure to liberal education.

Letter to Brother Bill By Evelyne McLaughlin

Dear Brother Bill: And greetings from the beautiful green hills of West Virginia. I trust you will have an enjoyable birthday the 14th. Keep that up and you may catch up with me. Belated birthday wishes to Caleb and Rodney McLaughlin. Also to your grandson, Jones. Guess he is strutting now that he has turned 13.
Ben and Marge Smith Thomas of Lakeview, Arkansas, were visiting friends and relatives last week. They were staying at the home of James Bird (CCHS 55) and his wife, Jane Barker Bird. I wanted to see them and decided to drive to Lizemore and visit with them. Well! I did not think I could get lost in Clay County, but I did. I turned up Pack Fork and drove and drove. Finally I decided I was too far out of the way (probably in Nicholas County). As I retraced my steps I saw someone on a porch swinging. Thanks to Tammy Vance Hardy I found my way to the house I was looking for. It was really good to see old friends. When our
oldest sister Carol Ann was born, Dr. Smith told Mom that he had delivered a Bird the day before and today he was delivering an Eagle. I don't know if that was James Bird or not.
Charlotte Eagle Steed and her husband Jim, of Knollwood, have returned to their home. They were in Pennsylvania for a couple of weeks with a church group.
Due to 911, our addresses have been changed. I was having trouble remembering my new house number. I know I am growing old but how difficult can 4-5-6-7 be??
Ed Smith, of Oak Hill Ridge, is now pastoring a church in Clendenin. Ed and Sandy's oldest son, Ed, has been teaching school in North Carolina. Sandy tells me he will be the head coach next fall at the middle school where he works. CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU ED.
Lenora Samples Hardman, of Charleston, has been hospitalized with I think a broken hip. I forgot to mention that to you in the last letter. She may be home now. Debbie Deems, of Pumpkin Ridge, has been helping her. Also, Allen Ramsey was in a car accident recently. Get well wishes to both of these folks.
Jessie McCoy, of Leon, won several ribbons at her school field day. Her mother is Angel McCoy, daughter of Blendenine Daubenspeck Blankenship and the late Gerald Blankenship, of Leon. Way to go Jessie.
I think Don is trying to get me in trouble. A few days ago, he couldn't find his billfold. He said he thought it was in his pants pocket in the bedroom - OOPS - they were in the washer. Yep! I laundered his money (isn't that against the law?). And then our power was out one evening last week. Miranda had decided to put in a home perm for me. It was about half rolled up and off went the electric. She wanted to know what to do. I told her we would light some candles and to go ahead and finish the perm. Everything was dandy until we had to rinse my hair. You guessed it - no water. So I go out to the rain barrel (wiggle tails and all) to rinse my hair and it was really cold. We thought we would only need one rinse, but no, we had to have two. This time I took the rain water and heated it before rinsing my hair. Poor Miranda, she kept saying "MawMaw, if this doesn't turn out good it ain't my fault". We both survived.
LeAnn Bennett, of Valley View, has graduated from West Virginia Tech with special honors. I received a nice e-mail from Barbara Dean Beyler. Do you remember her? She now lives in Ohio. Also, I heard from Marco Moore (formerly of Blue Knob). He now lives in North Carolina. We went to school with Marco at Maysel. I remember he read alot. It was nice to hear from both of these folks. Shonette McLaughlin Shearer, of Phoenix, Arizona, called the other day. She and her daughter Sherry plan to come to West Virginia sometime this month.
I notice a lot of working being done to the old Fred Carper Store Building. I heard that a new restaurant was going to be operating in that building.
We are still having church services at the Blessed Hope Church each Sunday afternoon at 2:30. Also, the Blue Knob Church has services each Sunday morning starting at l0:00. Bro Quention Scott has been preaching at Blue Knob. Everyone is invited to attend either or both services.
I think I have told you all that I know (well maybe
not all) for now. Dixie Jarvis wants me to make a road through my house so you can come visit with us. What did you tell her about my house anyway? We love you much Bro. Bill and until the next letter, Help Us All to Be Brave. Sis


I attended the Clay High School Graduation expecting to hear a nice farewell and going away ceremony for the 2004 Graduating Class. I heard instead what sounded to me like a political speech delivered by Kenneth Tanner. I don’ know if Mr. Tanner is running for an office, but it sounded that way to me. It takes votes from both sides to get elected; this should be his first lesson in politics.
As a lifelong Democrat I was highly offended by his references to former President Bill Clinton being a liar. He said his parents taught him to always be honest and truthful, one thing they never taught him was how to be respectful of ex presidents. The student sitting next to me said “hoa, I like Bill Clinton.”Was anyone else offended by Mr. Tanner’ remarks? I would like to know. Raise your hand if you think Mr. Tanner was out of line or am I just an easily offended Democrat who likes William Jefferson Clinton, too.
                                —Lindy Myers

Policy Predicament at the School Board Meeting
On Monday, June 7, the Clay County Board of Education held their regular meeting at the administrative office in Clay. Board President R.B. Legg, Jr. was absent, but members Gene King, Kim Sams, David Pierson and Rick Tanner were present. After Vice President Gene King asked Tanner to offer a prayer, he asked Superintendent Jerry Linkinoggor to conduct the meeting.
With one addition to the agenda, Dave Mullins to address the board during discussion of item #24, the meeting got under way. Previous meeting minutes, payment of current bills, transfer of $253,392 into the regular account, and increased receipts of $152,732 were approved with little discussion. Business Manager Loretta Gray provided the May financial update noting that they had received more in tax collections than was usual for May. Mr. Linkinoggor reported that they’ received a $21,000 payment from the power company for power surge damage to computers, surge protectors, etc., at one of the schools. He also said there would be no buses replaced as the legislature did not provide funding for bus replacement this year.
Lots of employment and transfers approved this meeting. Those employed: Kim Naylor as Band Auxiliary Coach at Clay County High School (CCHS) for 2004-2005, replacing Ms Cliver; Wanda Sue Workman as transportation aide for summer school; Lois Asbury as teacher of Extended School Year Services at CCHS; Allen Legg as bus driver for Bus #9; Mary Kathryn King as part time secretary for the 21st Century Grant program, funded through a grant (King is already a part time secretary, this will make her full time); Debbie Cantrell as cook at Camp Panther Paw June 22, 23 and 24 pending enrollment (this camp is new, funded with left over Gear Up money, providing a three day orientation for 8th graders coming to 9th grade at CCHS similar to Camp Mustang at Clay Middle); June Holcomb as part time cook for Camp Panther Paw, pending enrollment; Scott Gibson as coordinator for Boy’ Summer League Basketball at CCHS; Mary Ramsey as coordinator for Girl’ Summer League Basketball at CCHS; Frank Kleman as summer school Social Studies teacher at CCHS; Joanne Exline as summer school English teacher at CCHS; Greg Knopp as summer school Driver’ Education teacher at CCHS; and, Dave Ellison as summer school Math teacher at CCHS. Those who had transfers approved: driver Luther Simmons from Bus #52 Valley View/Queen Shoals to Bus #51 Glen/Bomont/Porter’ Creek (Bob Caldwell’ former position); Allen Morris from Bus #2 O’rien/Ivydale to Bus #52; and, Vercel Douglas from Bus #9 Widen/Harrison to Bus #45 Duck/Horse Ridge (Wayne Litton’ former position).
Mr. Linkinoggor reported that they had received four bids for geo-technical services for the Big Otter school site. Board approved the low bidder, Triad, to provide the service.
Four Clay Middle School (CMS) teachers, Mary Ann Triplett, Nada Waddell, Joan Haynie, and didn’ catch that fourth one’ name, were given permission to travel out of state to the Regional Institute for Middle School Teachers in Seven Springs, PA June 28 through July 1, paid through the Gear Up Grant.
Two hearings were on the agenda to determine the status of two substitute bus drivers. Dale Mullins was first. Director of Student Services Larry Legg was asking the Board to remove Mullins from the substitute drivers list because he had not the met 50% response rate required by the board’ policy. Legg reported that Mullins had driven 5 ½ days in the 2001-2002 year, none in the 2002-2003 year, and half a day in 2003-2004 although there had been 63 call outs during the year. He said he realized that people couldn’ make a living as a sub and had other jobs which he tries to work around, but, “hen I need a sub, I need a sub.” He also pointed out that it costs the board $170 a year per substitute bus driver as they pay for the required training, yearly physicals, and random drug screenings. Legg, “ale is a good driver…I realize he makes more money as a construction worker. We pay $170 to keep him on the list. The majority of our drivers do drive. There have been five openings this year he could have had as a full time bus driver…we’e paying for his CDL license.” Dale Mullins is at the top of the substitute seniority list. Service Personnel Rep Dave Mullins asked to speak, and did most of the talking for the other Mullins at his side: “ale used to be a regular driver…had a chance to do a three year construction job and asked the board to put him on the sub list…I think he’ been a little mistreated on the status thing.” Mullins said others were in default, some substitute cooks and janitors, and told the board they ought to look at those, too, not just target drivers. He also told them that Dale Mullins planned on taking a regular (driver) job this fall when his other job ran out. Gene King argued that they needed to put some teeth in their policy. King, “ don’ know why they want on the list if they don’ want a full time job with benefits.” David Pierson said he didn’ see any problem leaving Dale Mullins on the list for another year and then take another look at it – and he made a motion to do just that. Larry Legg, “’ after a driver…if he does not sub…”
                        Continued on the next page
Rick Tanner explained to Dave Mullins they weren’ picking on Dale Mullins, another driver was to have a hearing after this one. He also asked that if the issue was the $170 cost, would Dale consider paying that himself to stay on the list? Dave Mullins continued his “hy just Dale”position. Linkinoggor supported Tanner’ idea of adding to their policy the option of paying the cost to remain on the list if they did not respond to 50% of their call outs. Pierson said he’ like to look at a new policy, asking Linkinoggor to provide one at a future meeting, and repeated his motion to leave Mullins on the list until next year. Tanner seconded it this time, and it passed unanimously.
The second hearing concerned Delbert Adkins, also a substitute driver. Adkins was not present, although he’ been sent a letter notifying him of the hearing. Larry Legg reported that Adkins had been on the list for three years but had not driven at all during 2002-2003 or 2003-2004. He said Adkins worked full time as a coal truck driver. Gene King, “f he wanted a job he’ of been here. Remove him from the list.” When asked if that was a motion, King said it was. Tanner seconded it. Linkinoggor asked if there was anymore discussion. None from Dave Mullins, but Kim Sams, “ince we’e going to look at the policy, I think everyone should have the same opportunity to decide if they want to pay…that’ the way I see it.” Linkinoggor called for the vote on the motion. King and Tanner ‘ye’ Sams and Pierson ‘ay’ With Legg absent there was no one to cast the deciding vote. Tanner quickly made another motion to leave Adkins on the list and review it again next year, Sams seconded, and this time the motion passed unanimously. Mullins and Adkins both remain on the list. And Larry Legg still needs drivers that will drive.
Last on the agenda was a hearing to determine the status of a CMS student. The student’ parents opted not to attend, and the board accepted the superintendent’ recommendation placing the child in Alternative School starting next school year for one full year.
Next meeting of the Board will be Monday, June 21 at the administrative office starting at 6:00 p.m. TK

Clay Future Mapped Out
“You can’ always get what you want….”
        It might have been a year or more ago when the suits from Charleston came to the Clay Courthouse with maps, and papers, and facts designed to impress us into happy land. The half baked plans for the future of the county were met with resistance. The chief resister was Fred Sampson. After hearing from Sampson and the handful in attendance, the suits high tailed it back to Charleston to regroup.
        Sometime in January 2004, new plans were laid and a new approach was advanced. The new deal was for Mr. Outspoken, that’ Fred, to spearhead a committee made up of locals and have the locals provide some input into a Master Land Use plan for Clay County. The voluntary plan maps out what can and can’ be done with land after mountain top removal mining has raped the hills. If all agree, the coal company and the county commission would accept the plan and the coal company would not be required to return the land to approximate original contour (AOC) as many mining permits now require.
        Here’ the skinny. If Mr. Coal agrees to the terms of the master land use plan, he can spare himself the expense of returning over burden (dirt and rock) back to hill tops. Sound like a plan for mass waste land? What does the county get in return for saving Mr. Coal millions?
          Depending on the agreement, on-site roads, power, and water service would be left. In addition to infrastructure on site, there would be some flat land! Something we don’ have much of in these parts. Other agreements could be penned which could reduce the cost of building highways through remote sections of the county. Officially, the Charleston suits wrote: “s a result of the passing of Senate bill #603 in the 2001 Legislative Session, Land Use Master Plans are being developed to assist some counties in WV. The Clay Land Use Master Plan will provide the Clay County Business Development Authority with the ability to capture development opportunities for alternate land uses of surface mine sites….. the plan is developed to provide for economic progress, growth and enhanced quality of life for the citizens of Clay County.” OK everybody, stand up and sing America the Beautiful!
         Since January 2004, the Clay group has met three times with Perry Keller representing the E.L. Robinson Group of Charleston. E.L. Robinson is being paid somewhere around $40,000 for their guiding hand services and for a colorful map and 30 page report. During the June 7th meeting of the committee, the nearly complete report was presented for review.
         BDA Chair Paige Willis wasn’ too impressed with the 30 page document and mentioned that much of the info could easily be found in a WV Blue book at no cost! Willis wasn’ the only one concerned with the results presented to the committee.
         Contentious issues included: how can you plan out the future of Clay County if you don’ know where the coal seams are located: how can the map be accurate if it doesn’ include infrastructure located close to our border (like railroad tracks), and how can you mix industrial zones with recreation zones such as those near the proposed Dam Sampson lake site? Basically, the group decided, something is better than nothing and you can’ always get what you want even for $40,000.00
         After the committee makes its final recommendations to the Robinson group, a comment period will be scheduled and a public hearing will follow. When all the dust settles, the County Commission will vote to accept the plan sometime in mid summer.
         So was Paige Willis right? Is the report anything more than a boiler plate rehashing of all the earlier research papers done on Clayberry? You know the ones where they always mention the Golden Apple tree, the worth of our work force and then gently say our people aren’ educated, prone to diseases like diabetes and smoking 5 packs of Camels a day. Basically, the report is boiler plate but at least it has the most current figures!
         Like: The population of Clay County is now 10,330; the majority of our population is comprised of adults between the ages of 35 and 44; the medium age of the county is 36.8 years; there are 4,836 households in the county with on average, 2.4 people in each house; the average house value is $55,600; of those, 2.2% lack complete plumbing; 1.6% lack kitchens, and 10% lack telephone service. Isn’ this good to know?
         And: Our per capita personal income (PCPI) is the second worst in the state at $15,791.00; only Calhoun County fairs worse; the state’ PCPI ranks dead last in the USA and is only ½ that of the rest of the country. So are wages going up in the county? Not according to the report given the Master Land Use Committee last week. In 1991 Clay County was also ranked next to last in front of Calhoun County. Also, slightly less than 2000 Clay County residents have a job!
         One last stat from the report. Only 44.5% of our population had a high school education, which is drastically lower then the state average of 75%.”
         More than just a report and a map, Clay County will soon have at least SOME kind of plan to guide us through any post mining land use.         AW
         Rate Increase Comin too!
                 Any time a meeting agenda mentions the “ncrease”of anything word, watch out! You know it’ going to be a good one. The June 3rd Clay Roane PSD meeting was a keeper in many weird ways. With only 7 in the peanut gallery, action got started a little after 7. Before we get started with meeting highlights, get this! No secret session behind closed doors. Now for the meeting.
                 High point number one readers, a question: If you can manufacture a product for $4.75 a unit or buy it ready made for $2.61 per unit, which would you do, buy or make it yourself? During this June 3rd meeting, office manager Crystal Geiger said by buying water from the Town of Clay for $2.61 per 1000 gallons of water they were loosing money. That the PSD came out ahead by making their own water at a cost of $4.75/1000 gallons.
         Geiger told the Board after a month of buying water (1.3 million gallons from the town) they had lost $859.00. The Board, Gary Whaling, David Saulsgiver, Susan Beard, Glen Sutton and Chair Melissa Postelwait nodded in agreement. In attendance, Commissioner Triplett raised questions and after seeing the battle already decided by those up front, retreated from explaining common sense reasoning.
                 The PSD decided to start producing more high dollar water at the Procious Water Plant and cut back on purchasing from the Town.
                 As the board voted to pay all monthly bills, it came to light, once again, there wasn’ enough to do so.
                 Glen Sutton brought the subject of raising fees to new customers to the table. Ohhh, so now you’e paying attention, readers! Sutton said that the PSD should ask the WV Public Service Commission for a fee increase for road bores under roads for new customer hook ups. Sutton asked that fees be raised from $250 for a single lane road bore to $500 and two lane bores be raised to $1000. Motion passed with Dave Saulsgiver voting NO.
                 The long awaited Amma-Left Hand water line extension project is a go according to Chair Postelwait. Engineer for the project Jim Hildruth provided some insight: the PSD has to advertise for contractors for two weeks; bids should be back in by July 15, 2004; and, and, and as a result of the now settled Procious PSD bankruptcy, Clay Roane PSD has to pay back a $295,000 bankruptcy settlement, Hildruth, “e start in the hole $295,000.00…. we have to get the money somewhere!” But wait, there’ more, readers!
                                 Continued on the next page
         Because of estimated higher costs for the 33 mile water line extension, the PSD may have to seek loans in excess of $1 million to complete the project. Hildruth, “ut we really don’ know ‘ill we go to bid.”
                 Raise your hand if you know the answer to: What happens when you add over $1 million in debt to a project?
                 It now looks certain the Amma-Left Hand project will finally go to construction and just as certain water rates will have to be increased.
                 As for the much smaller Punkin Ridge project which will serve 33 customers, more money is needed there too. According to the Chair, grant requests for $100,000 were turned down again this year. With many potential customers wanting water service or their money (deposits) returned, the motion was made and passed to seek loan dollars to replace the grant requests. Postelwait, “’ tired of fooling with RUS, its been two years.. I definitely want Punkin to go, the customers are waiting.”
                 Hold on to your pocket books. Based on estimates provided the PSD by PSC engineer Jim Wiemer, each Clay Roane PSD customer may see a rate increase of $1.50 per month added to their bills. That’ all 500 customers, not just the 33 on Punkin. When the $1.50 and the name Weimer were mentioned, engineer Jim Hildruth made it very clear: Don’ pin those figures on his back!
                 The motion was made and passed to lay the ground work (cost analysis) for a loan request. Susan Beard expressed real concerns over increasing the debt load and abstained from voting the motion.
                 All you folks that brought in examples of dirty water purchased from the water plant, this one’s for you. When was the time the storage tanks were cleaned out? The question was asked during this meeting. Postelwait said it had been at least 2 years. Dale Deems said they never cleaned the sludge out of tanks during the three years he worked for the PSD. Boardster Saulsgiver felt that sometime during the last 8 years, the tanks had been cleaned. Eight Years Ago! Around 8:10 the meeting adjourned. Lets see now…. Amma-Left Hand will
         finally go to bid but water rates will have to be increased. Punkin Ridge may soon get water service but once again, rates will have to be raised for all customers to cover the additional costs. The PSD decided to increase costs by
         making their own water. And the water they make is stored in tanks full of crud, mud, sludge and muck.
         Just another day in Clayberry land.         
          Now we are getting to election issues! And which party is for those who really try to support themselves? Franklin Roosevelt, a Democrat, introduced the Social Security (FICA) Program. He promised:
         1) That participation in the program would be completely voluntary,
         2) That the participants would only have to pay 1% of the first $1,400 of their annual incomes into the program,
         3) That the money the participants elected to put into the program would be deductible from their income for tax purposes each year,
         4) That the money the participants put into the independent “rust Fund”rather than into the General operating fund, and therefore would only be used to fund the Social Security Retirement Program, and no other government program, and,
         5) That the annuity payments to the retirees would never be taxed as income.
          Since many of us have paid into FICA for years and are now receiving a Social Security check every month and then finding that we are getting taxed on 85% of the money we paid to the Federal government to “ut away,”you may be interested in the following:
         Q: Which Political Party took Social Security from the independent “rust”fund and put it into the General fund so that Congress could spend it?
         A: It was Lyndon Johnson and the Democrat controlled House and Senate.
         Q: Which Political Party eliminated the income tax deduction for Social Security (FICA) withholding?
         A: The Democratic Party.
         Q: Which Political Party started taxing Social Security annuities?
         A: The Democratic Party, with Al Gore casting the “ie-breaking”deciding vote as President of the Senate, while he was Vice President of the U. S.
         Q: Which Political Party decided to start giving annuity payments to immigrants?
         A: That’ right! Jimmy Caster and the Democratic Party. Immigrants moved into this country, and at age 65, began to receive SSI Social Security payments! The Democratic Party gave these payments to them, even though they never paid a dime into it!
          Then, after doing all this lying and thieving and violation of the original contract (FICA), the Democrats turn around and tell you that the Republicans want to take your Social Security away! And the worst part about it is, uniformed citizens believe it! Perhaps we are asking the wrong questions during this 2004 election year! If enough people receive this, maybe a seed of awareness will be planted and maybe good changes will evolve!
         (The above came from Bob Fennell, Historian-Teacher-Philosopher-Humorist from Birmingham, AL)
          We were taxed the wrong way then and now. The state representatives decided to steal it again with a promise of pay backs that never happened. We have never had a say in anything that our state or federal crooks do after we take in their lies and vote them in office. Then they make their own laws.
          Man’ law changes everyday, and we never know half of the laws that are on the books. One thing they have forgotten though: GOD’ LAW NEVER HAS AND NEVER WILL CHANGE. This you can take to the bank! Where will you be on the day the great white throne is brought down? What side will you be on then? The Right or the Left? You and your man’ law won’ help you then. GOD’ LAW IS ALL THAT WILL COUNT AND IT WILL BE FINAL.
                                 FRANK L. KISH, JR.
         Stay What Course?
                 I've heard lately that I may be getting too soft in my golden years, so get ready for an earful. I was dismayed to see a fellow columnist lift entire segments of his column from a recent U.S. News & World Report article. Everything I write might not be brilliant or full of quotes but it all comes from my own fevered brow. It was also sad to see this paper allow a GOP candidate use the letters forum for a free ad. And that was on top of the free advertising from a half-page article about GOP pontificating and driveling. I swear I think there is a closet-Republican involved with the usually sterling Communicator.
                 I, like many in this nation and world, am still waiting for some sort of explanation as to just what “ourse”we are allegedly “taying”with in Iraq. My bet is on a course that donates millions of dollars to Halliburton, sets up a puppet government and lets our oil tycoons dip into the Iraqi oil. All of this will be done at the cost of billions of U.S. dollars and at the continued cost of American lives. It still scares the "H" out of me that we are being led by a guy who thinks he is being told by God what to do next. If our Congress keeps the heat on this administration, look for more resignations for personal reasons, like getting out of Dodge while they still have some skin on their collective backs.
                 I had one of those "hmmm?" moments trying to figure out the odds that a poll worker’ husband just happened to be at the polls when that fellow got hot under the collar. I don't know about you all, but I won't put up with loiters in my precinct. It's against the law and that's the whole story. Hanging around a polling place is a crime and if someone is doing so, it's the job of the clerk to put a stop to it. So the town may offer Buckshot his free job back? If I was him I'd hold out for some pay and a million-fold of respect and appreciation. But that's just me. Couldn't help but notice someone whining about your senator and hinting that Democrats should go GOP in the fall. May as well just be man enough to change registration and get it over with. Again, that's just my thinking but I have no use for ticket-jumpers. I take my politics seriously and see those that cross party lines like the old folks said about being pregnant: you're either one or the other, and to me, if you don't vote Democrat, you're a Republican. Since I have forgotten to do so yet - Vote Democrat & Vote a Straight Ticket in the fall! There, got my election ad in, too. The campaign for Commission should be a doozy, what with one of those wild-eyed Mountain State candidates on the ballot. I know several of the leaders of that party from my labor-activist days. Well, that's enough for my blood pressure today. We'll all have apple-pie next time I promise.
                  ELECTION RESULTS We never really got around to reporting on the Primary Election results for the House of Delegates race for the southern end of Clayberry. The district consists of southern Clay County, and a portion of Nicholas & Fayette Counties. Incumbents Dave Perry, John Pino and Tom Louisos had four challengers including Clay County’ Mrs. Randy Schoonover, AKA Vicky Walker.
         With the other counties so much larger voter wise, any Clay candidate would have a very rough time getting elected. Mrs. Randy Schoonover took on the challenge.
         Of course, you know Tom Louisis, Dave Perry and John Pino retained their positions for another 2 years, but how did it really shake out?
         In Clay Mrs. Schoonover garnered 562 votes to Pino’ 269, Perry’ 303, and Louisis’141. She won Clayberry but lost district wide. An interesting part is how the challengers did against the incumbents in their home county of Fayettte. Here’ the top 4: Pino-3456; Tom Lousis –3404; Dave Perry – 3350 and coming in fourth, a Staggers lady with 2821 votes.
         Overall, Ms Staggers finished 4th district wide with Schoonover 5th with 2453. Not a bad showing for the challengers and those 2821 should be a flag for Delegate Perry in future bids for office.
         RANDY SCHOONOVER We have some good news, according to his daughter Marie, Schoony was set to be released from the hospital on Tuesday, June 8th. After spending three weeks in CAMC and fighting for his life most of that time, the one time senator appears on the road to recovery. His mother Hortense commented, “e’ a fighter!”
         Scott Holcomb is serving the country in Iraq. Want to do something nice? How about an email to one of our own: holcombscott2000@yahoo.com
         Business Development Authority As has been the course for some time, little happened during the June BDA meeting . The high spot, or maybe the low spot for some, BDA Chair Paige Willis announced that he would no longer serve as Chair of the economic development group. BDA Vice Chair Mack Samples wrote the group prior to the meeting announcing his resignation. During the meeting, and according to the bylaws, David Pierson was automatically removed from their roles for missing too many meetings without an excuse slip. Last year Clark Samples was removed from the BDA for missing meeting after meeting. After being removed from the appointment, the County Commission reappointed the local State Road Supervisor. Since that reappointment, Samples has not attended one session of the group.
         FILCON: Also from the BDA meeting June 3rd, the appointed folks all seemed to be in agreement, the great experiment in growing Clay County, Filcon Inc, was about to complete the full circle of sadness. During the BDA gathering it was announced that the Clay County Bank planned to auction off the Filcon property near Ovapa June 21st. According to the eco/dev warriors, there was very little they could do to stop the auction. Chair Willis, backed up by long term member Morgan Gibson, pointed out the obvious: something happened to once solid plans for the Charleston gang to cough up $50,000 to repurchase Filcon from the bank; and, there is little chance for the funds to arrive before the sale date. After that prediction was made public, it was as if a great burden had been lifted from the group, you could almost hear a sigh of relief.
         Maybe sigh is not the right word... that might have been a last gasp of life for the BDA.
         CRIME Around the county our crime wave continues. Even with some locals locked up, malicious and criminal activities continued. Since the last edition of this rag, Cunningham Motors was hit again as the Marlboro bandit busted out the front glass and had a field day with smokes inside. Bullard’ Exxon has had some of the worst experiences with vandals. Once again Bullard’ was targeted for crime.
         ELECTION RUMORS: Word on the street had it that School System Czar Kenneth Tanner went to the Circuit Clerk’ office just before the May 11th primary and asked to file as a Republicat for County Commission. Such late filings require the party Chair’ signature. Many heard that a phone call was made from Clerk Mike Asbury’ office seeking the mandatory OK. The response on the other end was a big fat NO.
         We asked Asbury about the rumor, and the response from Mike: he too had heard the story; that even the party chair (ole what’ her name) had called about the tale; and according to Mike, it’ all rumor, that Tanner never came to file.
         That tale grew two weeks ago. Last week, word on the street had Tanner now running a write in campaign in the fall. We have yet to validate or disprove that buzz, but as of June 9th, Jim Paxton is the only official write in choice.
         Cyberspace: Last week a fellow emailed his dismay over verbiage and comments often found on the clayberry.org website. Excerpts from that happy online viewer included: I went to the "Clayberry" web site for the first time and became confused then disgusted. First, the Clay County Free Press gets a noticeably blatent "snub". How can the oldest newspaper of record, of Clay County, be ignored! Second, the news page reads like a distorted version of the New York Times. Facts are facts. I've not read such literary fertilizer since I made the mistake of visiting the N.Y.Times editorial page! You, like them, choose to either ignore the facts or are to lazy to do a little research (i.e. Iraq War progress). Third, I would like to know, is the sophomoric attempt at humor in "famous quotes" necessary? I doubt that I will ever visit this website again do to it's questionable content as it is a product of poor decision making and less than thourough credibility. I come from the Williams-Ramsey and Triplett-Boggs families of Clay County. All have a long and storied history there. It is a shame that we cannot show our pride of our hometown to others using this website. It would be nice to see a page where folks could post some feedback about your website's content, If you have the courage to post other opinions and points of view.
         Yep, that’ his spelling, too.
         05/24/04: Belt – Betty Nichols, warrants issued for forgery and uttering, arrested 05/25, ROB.
         05/25/05: Sizemore – Dexter Pritt, possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, arrested, ROB, dismissed 06/02 without prejudice, prosecuting attorney and officer failed to appear for hearing.
         05/26/04: Delk – Clyde Earl McQuain, possession with intent to deliver (05/06/04) and altering or changing serial number, removal of manufacturers serial number, and receiving and transferring stolen vehicle (05/13/04), preliminary hearing continued by State to 07/08/04; Delk – John David Hickman, driving while revoked for DUIA 3rd offense (05/09/04), preliminary hearing continued by State to 06/29/04; Bailey – Christopher D. Pritt, breaking and entering, arrested, ROB 05/27, preliminary hearing 06/04: case dismissed as per plea agreement with misdemeanor charges petit larceny and destruction of property; Stephenson – Jason Robert Triplett, breaking and entering, arrested, ROB 05/27, preliminary hearing: probable cause found, case bound to Circuit Court; Stephenson – David Ryan Stone, breaking and entering, arrested, preliminary hearing 06/04: Def. attorney failed to appear.
         05/27/04: Stephenson – Calvin Cottrell, breaking and entering, arrested, preliminary hearing continued by Def. to 06/10; Stephenson – Jason Boggs, breaking and entering, arrested, ROB 06/03, preliminary hearing continued by Def. to 06/30.
         05/31/04: Light – Dencil M. Fugate, unlawful/malicious wounding, arrested, ROB 06/03, preliminary hearing continued by State to 06/10.
         06/03/04: Sizemore – Charles M. Stowers, DUIA 3rd offense (05/03/04), rec’ order 05/05/04 appointing B. Schamberger as attorney, rec’ order 05/14/04 relieving B. Schamberger and appointing W. King as attorney, hearing continued by Def. on 06/03, his attorney failed to appear for court, requesting another attorney; Delk – Amy Marie Beasley, grand larceny (11/24/03), dismissed by State; complaining witness does not wish to prosecute.
         06/05/04: Stephenson – Nathan L. Brown, driving under the influence 3rd offense, arrested, ROB.
         06/06/04: Bailey – Darrell N. Backus, driving under the influence 3rd offense, arrested, ROB, preliminary hearing 06/28.
         05/25/04: Burton Mullins – Crystal Lea Brown, warrants issued for worthless check complaints X 2; Clay Co. Board of Education – Jennifer D. Grose, warrant issued for worthless check complaint, Def. paid check and notice fee 06/03, incorrect address on notice, arrest warrant recall order issued; Slack – Jerry Smith, violation of protective order X 2, arrested 05/26, ROB; Roger Morris – Adam Auxier, passing stopped school bus, summons; Light – Philip A. Whaling, possession of marijuana less 15 grams, appeared, Def. assessed cost and placed on 6 months unsupervised probation; Sizemore – Samantha Jo Woodard, possession marijuana less 15 grams, appeared, ROB, pled no contest 06/07, assessed cost and placed on 6 months unsupervised probation.
         05/26/04: Bailey – Christopher David Pritt, petit larceny and destruction of property, arrested, ROB 05/27, Def. pled guilty, assessed fine and costs, paid restitution, sentenced to 30 days jail, suspended for 6 month unsupervised probation, fleeing from an officer, Def. pled guilty, assessed fine and costs; Stephenson – Jason Robert Triplett, petit larceny, destruction of property, and obstructing an officer, arrested, ROB 05/27; Stephenson – David Ryan Stone, petit larceny, destruction of property, and obstructing an officer, arrested; Sizemore – Paul Austin, speeding, appeared, ROB; Simms – Judy Lynn Taylor, stream litter within 100 feet, appeared, ROB.
         05/27/04: Stephenson – Calvin Cottrell, destruction of property and petit larceny, arrested, trial continued to 06/10; Stephenson – Jason Boggs, destruction of property and petit larceny, arrested, ROB 06/03, trial continued by def. to 06/30; Simms – Rick Junior Bishop, stream litter, appeared, ROB.
         05/28/04: Stephenson – Wayne Welch, destruction of property, summons; Belt – Rickey L. Holstein, driving under the influence and no POI, arrested, ROB; Wriston – Rickey L. Holstein, destruction of property, arrested, ROB.
         06/02/04: IGA – Daniel Raike, warrants issued for worthless checks X 2; Delk – John H. Cunningham, domestic battery, arrested, ROB; Delk – Jerry Lee Smith, domestic battery and violation of protective order, appeared 06/07, ROB.
         06/03/04: Delk – Nelson Garland Davis, Jr., violation of domestic violence protective order, arrested.
         06/04/04: Clay Supermarket – Ronnie D. Beasley, warrant issued for worthless check complaint; Clay Supermarket – Darius Cummings, worthless check complaint, appeared, paid check and costs; Wriston – Dow W. Bird, possession of marijuana less 15 grams, appeared, ROB; Slack – Jason Conley, trespassing, summons; Slack – Linda Rhodes, trespassing, summons; Slack – Peggy Conley, trespassing, summons; Bailey – Tammy S. Nottingham, destruction of property, appeared, ROB.
         06/05/04: Stephenson – Nathan L. Brown, MVI, arrested, ROB.
         06/06/04: Bailey – Darrell N. Backus, driving while revoked for DUIA, arrested, ROB.
         06/07/04: Wriston – William Benjamin Adkins, possession of marijuana less 15 grams, appeared, ROB; Slack – Jack D. Sizemore III, domestic battery X 2, arrested; Wriston – Stephen R. Thaxton, speeding and registration violation, motion by defense attorney requesting hearing.
         06/08/04: Sizemore’ IGA – Paula Burniston, warrants issued for worthless check complaints X 2.
         05/25/04: Clay County Emergency Ambulance – all for money due, subpoenas issued for: Sherry Triplett; Matthew Triplett; Samantha Schafstall; Tasha Runnion; Wadie Rose; James Pizza; Harley Nottingham; Terry Parsons; Brandy Nichols; Tressy Moore; James McCune, Jr.; Joseph marling; Jerry Jones; Robert Johnson; Marvin Hively; Brett Cox; Jerry Cash; Shawn Butler; Buford Brown; Anita Truman.
         06/04/04: Loretta Stewart – John Rogers and Dimple Rogers, money due.
         06/08/04: Clara Holcomb – Kim Moore, money due, subpoena.
         Worthless Checks
         Notices issued
         05/28/04: Sizemore’ IGA – Paula Burniston, misdemeanor file opened X 2.
         06/01/04: Connie Brown – David D. Myers and Alan R. Rhodes.
         06/03/04: Lizemore Grocery – Josh A. Vance X 4; Ronald C. Pritt X 6.
         06/07/04: Connie Brown – Jokwin Schoonover II.
         06/08/04: House’ Market – Ronald C. Pritt X 2.
         Citation Register
         05/17/04: State Police – John Eric Hunt, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI.
         05/18/04: State Police – Michael Todd Harris, speeding and no POI.
         05/19/04: State Police – Jeremy J. Cummings, possession less than 15 grams marijuana and operator’; Nathan W. Stephenson, MVI; Sheriff’ Dept. - Steven H. Duffield, no POI and registration violation.
         05/20/04: DOH – Rodney Fields, overweight, overwidth, overlength; Danny Thomas Jarvis, 7100 LBS. over Reg. G.V.W.; State Police – Michael Vasco, speeding.
         05/21/04: State Police – Scotty Lane Boggs, improper passing, MVI and no POI.
         05/22/04: State Police – Debora K. Gould, no POI; Rickey L. Holstein, registration violation and no POI; Kevin L. Noe, failure to stop/yield.
         05/23/04: State Police – Ronald Paul Rhodes, no POI.
         05/24/04: State Police – William B. Adkins, possession of marijuana less 15 grams; Dow W. Bird, driving under the influence; Sheriff’ Dept. – Samantha Jo Woodard, possession of marijuana less 15 grams.
         05/25/04: Sheriff’ Dept. – Calvin B. Cottrell, left of center and operator’; State Police – Andrew Reed, speeding; Larry M. Schoonover, no POI.
         05/28/04: State Police – Rickey L. Holstein, public intoxication; Sheriff’ Dept. – Rodney J. Runion, improper backing; DNR – Phillip R. Summers, operating ATV on prohibited highway.
         05/31/04: Sheriff’ Dept. – Todd Alen Matheney, driving suspended/revoked non-DUI, no POI and registration violation.
         06/01/04: State Police – Russell Breidegam, registration violation and no POI.
         06/03/04: State Police – Kelley A. Herrada, no POI; Tammy S. Nottingham, destruction of property.
         06/05/04: State Police – Nathan L. Brown, driving under the influence-3rd offense and MVI.
         06/06/04: State Police – Darrell N. Backus, driving under the influence.
         Gone and they don’ know it!
                 Central Appalachian Empowerment Zone (CAEZ) met in regular session June 1st in their Main Street digs beside the Welfare Office. Short, tall, bald, fat and thin alike, all gathered again, as they have for nearly ten years. Their purpose: improve life in all of Clay County and parts of four adjoining border colonies of Clay that make up the organization’ core.
                 They went through the paces, reports from some committees and none from those in name only committees. As the info was being delivered, many nodded in agreement while others looked as though they could hardly keep their eyes open. Most voted in lock step with leadership. Aye this, aye that…. Most of the topics covered resembled topics and discussions repeated over and over as the years have passed by.
                 CAEZ was a brain storm of the Clinton Administration and more specifically, Al Gore. When hatched in D.C., Congress gave it a 10 year life span. The 10 years are up this September 30th. With Republicans in control of Congress and the White House, there is little chance for the Democratic initiative to be refunded or reauthorized
                 For those still reading, the housing committee did not meet. The Economic Development Committee did so a few minutes before the main board meeting and once again Fred Sampson provided the brief to the full Board. In a nutshell: most of the CAEZ loans to businesses in the zone are current; for Clay County, plans are being laid to promote a fall foliage tourist event in October 2004; a letter was sent to the Clay County Business Development Authority asking them if CAEZ could assist them in any way; CAEZ received $30,000 to act as a lead economic development agency for the county of Clay, plans for a firewood co-op are still in their infancy, and the old state road garage has been listed as a “rown field”site.
                 Director Sizemore added to the tourism topic for Clay County with: they continue to meet with parties concerning use of the Widen Coal properties for hiking and biking trails; and the chief hang up is a liability issue. Translation: Nothing new to report.
                 Somewhere in there Sizemore brought up his conversations and visits with Clay’ Frank Murphy and the availability of flat land near the Wallback exit of I 79 owned by Murph and another tract, the old Clay Camper Company building. According Sizemore, the Clay Camper holding is available for $185,000.00 and those 2 out of the flood acres at Wallback are available for $300,000.00 Note: To Frank: Yes, he said $300,000 for 2 acres. Note to our readers: We think Sizemore meant to say, 3acres of flat land for $200,000.00.
                 CAEZ gave the thumbs up to a $15,000 loan to Scented Wonders and their new Craft Mall located at Two Run The thumbs up was given but at the time of the meeting, CAEZ didn’ have the $15,000 on hand to lend.
                 Over the last 9 years, annual audits have often been the center of contention, who’ going to do it; why is it taking so long; it’ time to change the method of doing the audit; and it’ time to find a new CPA. This June, most of those same issues popped up again.
                                 Continued on the next page
                 Nearly as long as there has been a CAEZ, there has been dissention among the Boardsters. 9 out of 10 times, parts of the 7 member Clay Delegation on one side of the battle and the rest of the Board on the other. Seems like with nearly a majority from Clay County on one front, they would win more than they loose. Unfortunately, that’ not been the case. For most of the years, our delegation have been less than faithful with attendance and the result has been two or three Clayonians at battle much like David and Goliath. With that background, Elizabeth Sampson asked about reports of CAEZ coming to an end.
                 As that question was leaving Sampson’ lips, it appeared that for half the Board it was news. For the other half of the elected ones, it was time to do damage control. Mr. Smoothie, Director Sizemore, put sugar on it with: at the end of the year we will no longer be an enterprise community. We are now a Champion Community.
         Champion Community? Now a Champion Community? Now? When did that happen?
         Ears began to perk up as Boardsters strained to hear more from their Director. Red Derring asked about loss of federally designated federal dollar set asides and if those days were gone. Sizemore sidestepped any response to that most important question with words on how newspapers turn and twist stuff around and often what is said is not what appears in print. He had dodged that most important question for the moment. Jerry went on with how great being a Champion Community will be for the group. How there are 7 other such organizations already in WV. His smoothness was comforting many.
          In fact, the reality is alarming. Here’ how. Over the last 10 years millions of federal dollars were set aside in special little drawers to be used in those most needy areas of the country like Appalachia and CAEZ. While some money has come into the CAEZ service area, little has come into Clay except for money heading straight for the school system. With that pot of money drying up September 30th, that’ the end of the federal year, there is little reason to continue the grass roots organization as we now know it.
         Most readers know from personal experience, when the money goes away, so does everything else.
         Only after questioning by Ms Sampson did it come out in the open, no new money has been designated for federal set asides and when Sizemore said “t the end of the year” he didn’ mean December 31, 2004, but instead September 30 2004, just 90 days from the meeting date.
         Sizemore has been labeled “r. Smoothie”for his ability to walk around the tricky stuff and for his ability to keep a majority of the Board in his corner. He’ darn good at it! Often questions to the Director have to be very tightly crafted to avoid the side step technique. Such was the case during this meeting as Teflon was added to cover over the remaining twilight days of the grass roots organization. One guy from the peanut gallery asked one specific question: When October 1st gets here, will there be any new federal set aside dollars available from Congress? Sizemore: It depends. The Feds could designate money. He had once again smoothed out the rough edges and watered down the problem with nice wordage.
         From the long table, a dose of truth was expressed by long time board member Red Derring: all the Clinton dollars come to an end September 30th this year.
         Clay County, after ten years with CAEZ, is still waiting for that first non government job in the county. We did get something, readers! Llyn Drake made a plea for $2500 to maintain Spread Park along the Elk River. Aided by her fellow Boardsters, the motion was made and passed to provide the $2500. At last something from CAEZ the entire county can use! At least the grass will be mowed at Spread Park as a result of CAEZ and ten years of efforts.